LifeWise: exercising freedom

LIMA — The year 2022 marks 200 years of Labor Day celebrations. The first Labor Day was celebrated in 1882 in New York City. It officially became a holiday in 1894. About 50 years later, the justice system created a rule that would change the course of our school system.

In 1952 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that students were permitted to leave public school to attend religious classes. This was known as a released time. The curriculum had to be off school property, privately funded and approved by parents.

LifeWise Academy is exercising this freedom in the community.

The Christian program made its debut in 2021 at Elida schools. They have now branched out to Allen East and will soon be at Shawnee.

One program director, Karrie LeSure, weighed in.

“I am the Director for Allen East LifeWise,” said LeSure. “This is our first year launching. We have taken a lot of tips from Elida. We launch on Sept. 13 for first through third grade. Our program is not on campus this year. We are using the Harrod Event Center. We use a church van to transport the kids. We also use a van that was donated by Tom Ahl. We use that to get the kids back and forth.

“We are a Bible-based education. We teach kids the Gospel while also teaching them character traits. We teach them how to be trustworthy and honest. It has really helped out in the classroom. The teachers have been super supportive. We get the kids for one period of the day to hopefully teach them as long as their parents give permission. Our teacher is super excited. I think about 1/6 of the first through third-graders are already signed up. I think once we start, that number will really boost. We have 57 students so far. The program is through the entire school year,” LeSure said.

LifeWise not only focuses on the Spirit but the body and physical fitness. Racers of all ages met to compete in their second annual 5K. The race was held on Sunnydale Road, right outside LifeWise Academy and Elida Fieldhouse.

Participants got to experience live acoustic music from Jim Boedicker and receive gift cards from a drawing. One young competitor not only won a gift card but obtained the first place title for women under 40. Nine-year-old Londyn Hutchison obtained the victory Monday morning, surpassing her competitors.

“It felt good to run,” said Hutchison. “I just caught up to this person, then the next, then the next.”

Hutchison enjoys running. She started when she was just 6 years old. She is unsure if she wants to run professionally but the race was a great start to a potentially long career ahead.

LifeWise commemorated this Labor Day by racing, fellowshipping and raising awareness of their program.